The Killeen City Auditor released an internal audit on the Killeen Animal Services Division on Friday, and it contains both praises for the shelter’s improvements as well as concerns about the prospect of maintaining said improvements.
“Under interim leadership, the Animal Services Unit has shown marked improvement,” the audit says on page 12, under the Findings and Recommendations header. “However, policy and operational impediments may hinder Animal Services’ ability to sustain its improved performance.”
The Animal Services Division has had an interim manager, Lt. Tony McDaniel, since the end of February when the prior manager, Ed Tucker, resigned. The position for a full-time animal services manager was recently posted on the city of Killeen’s website.
According to the audit, as well as monthly reports issued by the Killeen Animal Services Division, the shelter has maintained an average live release rate of 90 percent since McDaniel took over as interim manager, an increase from the average 83 percent maintained through fiscal year 2017.
“In addition, interim management has made progress in addressing several of the facility’s longstanding non-structural, operational deficiencies,” the audit says.
However, the audit also notes policy problems that may hinder the shelter’s ability to maintain a live release rate of 90 percent. In particular, the audit notes spay and neutering practices that “allow for the conditional release of unaltered animals under adoption contracts, which are neither efficient, nor effective at achieving compliance with state spay/neuter laws.” The audit also says the shelter still has not implemented an adequate trap-neuter-return policy to help control the large feral cat problem in Killeen, a subject the Herald has reported on before.
The audit also points out several improvements that have been made under the direction of the interim manager, such as the purchase of a commercial-grade washer and dryer, a commercial dish washer, and the proper implementation of multiple air purifiers to help improve air quality in the animal holding rooms.
The audit recommends that the director of Animal Services Division continue to implement improvements at the shelter and that City Auditor Matt Grady be given an update on the status of the division by Dec. 31.
“In order to ensure that the gains it has made are sustainable in the long-term, Animal Services needs to take a more strategic approach to managing shelter operations that focuses on reducing intake, as well as increasing positive outcomes,” the audit says. “Reducing intake will require proactive spay/neuter policies and practices, specifically, pre-sterilization for all shelter animals.”